Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 Fort Worth Reporter
The Clearfork Main Street Bridge which connects Hulen Street and Bryant Irvin Road opened Friday, clearing the way for development in the future.
A major part of the historic, 165-year-old Edwards Ranch in Fort Worth is about to change forever.
The changes have been in the works for decades but can finally happen after a major bridge project opened on Friday.
The Clearfork Main Street bridge connects Hulen Street and Bryant Irvin Road, making it a major arterial street in the heart of the city.
City officials cut the ribbon at a ceremony on Friday morning, and traffic was allowed over by early afternoon.
"It gives us another way to get between Bryant Irvin Road and Hulen, instead of just Vickery or I-30 right now, and you know what that's like," City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Zim Zimmerman .
The bridge is actually a twin set of spans that cross the Trinity River with a pedestrian bridge below.
"As you come across the Hulen bridge, this will be a major asset," Mayor Betsy Price said.
More importantly the bridge, coupled with the nearby Chisholm Trail Parkway, means development of the Clearfork section of Edwards Ranch can get started.
"This truly was the main piece that we needed to begin development, because it's really the first connection into the property," said Paxton Motheral, Cassco Development Co. vice president.
Cassco, owned by the Edwards family, plans on developing 270 acres of property, mostly south of the new toll road. The project will feature apartments, townhomes, retail and green space.
Infrastructure work on the project has been underway for the last seven years with help from the city but, in September, the first phase will begin. Construction on a 50-acre portion of the site should be completed by the end of 2014.
The project is one of many in the city's core, as development is just as important inside Loop 820 as it is outside.
"You never want a city to die from within. You never want all the development to be on the edges; you certainly want to keep your core city vibrant and strong," Price said.
"There's a lot of land yet to be developed inside the loop, and we're starting to try and focus on that before we really try to jump to the outskirts," Zimmerman said.
So while the bridge leads to very little right now, that won't always be the case.
"We want the city of Fort Worth to be proud of what's happening out here on the property," Motheral said.
The first residential phase will feature 398 units of townhomes, contemporary lofts and upscale apartments. The pedestrian bridge is set to open later this spring.